Oglala Lakota tribal members were supposed to vote Tuesday on legalizing alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation. But on Monday, protestors convinced the Oglala Sioux Tribal council to cancel to referendum:
Of the 18 member council, 14 were present. Nine council representatives voted in favor of the motion to stop the election: Sonia Little Hawk-Weston (Wakpamni District), Marilyn Charging Crow (Eagle Nest District), Collins “CJ” Clifford (Wounded Knee District), Floyd Brings Plenty (Oglala District), Ellen Fills The Pipe (Oglala District), Jackie Siers (Wakpamni District), Blaine Little Thunder (Eagle Nest District), David Pourier (Porcupine District) and James Cross (Pass Creek District).
Four council representatives voted against the motion to stop the election: Ella John Carlow (Pine Ride District), Chauncy Wilson (Medicine Root District), Donn Fire Thunder (LaCreek District), and Craig Dillion (LaCreek District). Patrick Ross (Porcupine District) voted to abstain.
“We, as legislators, spend a majority of our time dealing with social problems, most due to alcohol abuse. I have to be a voice for the children and the generations to come. Legalizing alcohol is not the answer. It’s like encouraging the use of alcohol to make money off our own people who are already fighting this disease,” stated Council Representative Jackie Siers [Natalie Hand, “Oglala Lakota Stop Vote on Alcohol,” Native Sun News, 2016.05.18].
Pine Ridge voters approved repealing the long-standing alcohol ban in August 2013, but concerns about the legitimacy of that public vote led the council to ignore the results. Now Percy White Plume leads 30 protestors on horseback to push the OST council to cancel another public vote and leave the alcohol ban in place. I’m trying to figure out if that’s a victory for people power or not.